ByTrevor Norkey, writer at
Writer, filmmaker, actor and film enthusiast.
Trevor Norkey

There are countless Christmas and holiday films out there this time of year, but there is one I can't help but watch every year that never seems to get old - Elf. Following the story of a man who was raised among elves, travels to New York City to reunite with his biological father, Elf is a fun, humorous and entertaining movie to watch this holiday season.

One of the best parts about this film is the incredible cast, including Will Ferrell who practically never disappoints when it comes to comedy. This film turns 12 this year, so clearly the cast has been up to quite a bit since then. What ever happened to the cast of Elf? Well, it took some research, but I found out...

Will Ferrell (Buddy)

It is not much of a secret to most people what Will Ferrell has been up to since 2003, largely since he was the biggest actor in the film and continues to be a household name. Since Elf, the 48-year-old actor has starred in countless films of his own. Previously, he co-starred in films like Old School and Night at the Roxbury, but Elf can be credited as Ferrell's first big film that he starred in as the main character.

Some of the biggest films Ferrell has starred in since Elf are Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), Kicking & Screaming (2005), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Blades of Glory (2007), Semi-Pro (2008), Step-Brothers (2008), Land of the Lost (2009), The Other Guys (2010), The Campaign (2012), Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013), Get Hard (2015) and Daddy's Home which comes out Christmas Day this year.

Besides his film career, Ferrell has also started a family of his own since 2003. With his wife Viveca Paulin, whom he married in 2000, Ferrell has raised three sons: Magnus, who was born in 2004; Mattias, who was born in 2006; and Axel, who was born in 2010. Ferrell has started both a career and a family since Elf, but he never lost his Buddy the Elf spirit.

James Caan (Walter)

Since Elf, Caan's career has actually started to slow down, largely due to the fact that the height of his career was his role in The Godfather in 1972. A large portion of Caan's career, has been playing recurring and starring roles in TV shows, including Ed Deline in Las Vegas from 2003 through 2007, Sy Berman in Magic City in 2013, and starring as Terry in Back in the Game from 2013 through 2014.

Also since Elf, Caan, who is now 75, went through a difficult divorce with his fourth wife Linda Stokes in 2009, but still held a relationship with his five children and his four grandchildren.

Bob Newhart (Papa Elf)

Newhart has actually had a busy career over the past 12 years for a man who just turned 86. For the most part, Newhart has retired to just appearing in TV shows, including ER, Committed, Desperate Housewives, NCIS, The Librarians, Hot in Cleveland, and The Big Bang Theory. He's appeared in a couple of TV movies too, but nothing significant. Newhart's activity has been steady, yet not quite as busy as his career before Elf.

In 2006, Newhart published his first book I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This through Hyperion Books. The book was a memoir about his life, including some of his comedic history. Besides that, Bob Newhart really has not been up to much else since Elf premiered in 2003.

Edward Asner (Santa)

Asner, who also turned 86 this year, has been rather active over the past 12 years. In 2009, he received what would perhaps be one of his biggest roles in a film - Carl from Up. Besides Up, Asner has also been in Christmas Vacation 2, The Practice, Center of the Universe, Crab Orchard, All In, The Heart Specialist, W.I.T.C.H., Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Hard Four, Channels, Gigantic, Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage, The Line, CSI: NY, The Triumph of William Henry Harrison, Not Another B Movie, Working Class, Hopelessly in June, Absolute Killers, Let Go, The Middle, Should've Been Romeo, Foodfight!, Elephant Sighs, Identical, Hawaii Five-0, Audrey, The Games Maker, Axel: The Biggest Little Hero, Frozen in Time, Citizens United the Movie, Criminal Minds, and Joe's War.

In addition to these roles, he has also reprised his role as Santa on The Regular Show. Outside of acting, Asner has been doing political work over the years, including showing support from Barack Obama in the 2008 US Presidential Election, and narrating documentaries and films about taxing the rich.

In March of 2013, Asner received the wake up call that he should start slowing down his work while performing live. He began forgetting his lines and reportedly became disoriented. He was taken the hospital and ended up perfectly fine, but came out to see that the Internet was mourning his "death," thinking the incident had been fatal. To that, he had this to tweet...

Mary Steenburgen (Emily)

Though Steenburgen portrayed Will Ferrell's stepmother in Elf, she later worked with the comedy actor again in Stepbrothers where she played his actual mother and was once again married to a character named Walter. In addition to this, the 62-year-old actress has also had roles in Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School, The Dead Girl, Elvis & Annabelle, Nobel Son, The Brave One, Honey Dripper, Four Christmases, The Proposal, Dirty Girl, The Help, Last Vegas, A Walk in the Woods, Justified, Orange is the New Black, and The Last Man on Earth.

In 2006, Steenburgen received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Lyon College. She has been married to her husband Ted Danson, best known for starring in Becker and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and is close friends with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who Steenburg and Danson are supporting in her bid for the presidency.

Zooey Deschanel (Jovie)

Deschanel has been quite active since she appeared in Elf, her biggest role quite possibly being her leading role as Jess on New Girl, which she has been nominated for three Golden Globes and and Emmy for. Some of Deschanel's other significant roles since 2003 have been in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Happening, Yes Man, Your Highness, Our Idiot Brother, and (500) Days of Summer.

Outside of acting, the 35-year-old actress married Ben Gibbard, the singer for Deathcab For Cutie, in 2009, but divorced him in 2011. She married Jacob Pechenik this year, with whom she has a daughter named Elsie Otter. Deschanel has also explored a music career, occasionally singing back-up vocals. In addition, she runs the website, which Time, Inc. acquired earlier this year.

Daniel Tay (Michael)

Unlike most other actors on this list, Tay has had a rather low profile since Elf, which really is not that uncommon for child actors. Now 23, Tay has only appeared in a few works, the most significant being his titular role in Doogal. He has also appeared in Beer League and Brooklyn Rules, and has had voice roles in the video games Bully and Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony.

Besides this, not much is known about Tay's life. For the most part, Tay has retired from acting. Sometimes overexposure as a kid can take away the thrills of the career. At least he will still be getting his royalty checks from Elf every Christmas, though.

Peter Dinklage (Miles Finch)

Though he had a steady career before Elf, many people consider Elf to be the 46-year old actor's big break, throwing him into the Hollywood spot light. Most people now know Dinklage for his role as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, which has won him two Emmys, a Golden Globe and countless nominations. Dinklage has also had roles in X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, both versions of Death at a Funeral (2007 & 2010), Entourage, Life as We Know It, Threshold, Penelope, and Pixels.

In 2011, Dinklage had his first and only daughter with his wife Erica Schmidt, whom he married in 2005. Many people see Dinklage as a model and spokesperson for people with Dwarfism, especially due to his rise in fame, but when asked about this, Dinklage said,

"I don't know what I would say. Everyone's different. Every person my size has a different life, a different history. Different ways of dealing with it. Just because I'm seemingly okay with it, I can't preach how to be okay with it. I don't think I still am okay with it. There are days when I'm not."

A lot can change in the course of 12 years, and this is undoubtedly true for this phenomenal cast. Where will they go to next? Only time will tell. But until then, relive the movie with five minutes of the best moments from Elf!



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